The doomsayers were wrong: TiVo is doing better than ever

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Those who thought TiVo was doomed were wrong, and now there’s some solid numbers to prove it. TiVo announced today that its customer base surpassed a record-high 4.5 million subscribers by the end of 2014’s first quarter ending April 30. The company also added a record number of cable subscribers, which contributed to the net 341,000 multiple-system operator (MSO) subscriptions added in Q1 – this figure reflects the amount of people that use a TiVo device in place of their cable provider’s standard set-top box option.

You usually stand to save a few bucks by nixing your provider’s box, which typically requires both a rental fee and an access fee – plus, you’ll never really own it. Most providers these days offer something called a “CableCARD” to those of its customers who want to view and record digital cable TV channels via DVRs, computers or TVs, instead of the provider box.

However, sometimes you have to give something up in exchange for using a box of your own choosing. Comcast, for example, offers CableCARDs to its subscribers, but says “you’ll receive one-way digital cable channels but not our interactive guide, pay-per-view events or On Demand digital programming.” Fortunately, this has begun to change, as Comcast now offers all of those functions to CableCARD customers with Internet service in very select markets.

But TiVo continues to prosper despite obstacles erected by big cable and satellite companies. The DVR-maker’s Service & Technology revenues increased 39 percent year-over-year to $86 million in Q1 2014 alone, and its adjusted earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) were $26.9 million greater than expected. TiVo’s latest Roamio DVR likely offers many of the same things that Comcast’s “interactive guide” claims to, and more. Check out our review of the Roamio to see if you’re the next subscriber to join the 4.5 million who’ve already discarded their provider’s set-top box, and check out the TiVo Mini and TiVo Stream for even more viewing options while you’re at it.